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Let the Debate Begin! Gartner Names Top University Undergraduate Supply Chain Programs for 2020

Every other year since 2008, the analysts at Gartner release their ranking of the top university supply chain programs, both graduate and undergraduate, and the list of top undergraduate programs for 2020 was unveiled last week.

The somewhat surprising news: the undergraduate program in supply chain from the University of Arkansas topped the list, supplanting long term number 1 Penn State for the leadership spot.

Supply Chain Digest Says…


Ninety-two percent of graduates were placed within three months of graduation, with 74% placed at or before graduation, which was about the same as 2018.

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The programs are ranked by three main evaluation categories, largely based on a detailed questionnaire, this year submitted by 67 graduate and 59 undergraduate programs:

• Program scope (40%)

Industry value (40%)

Program size (20%)

Program scope is evaluated in terms of how well a program offers a “diverse, balanced curriculum,” with the reference point for that being what Gartner calls its Supply Chain Talent Attribute Model.

That model starts with “foundational business skills,” then layers on functional supply chain skills, enabling skills in areas such as supply chain technology and project management, followed by cross functional skills (integrated supply chain).

Those programs that have courses that well match up with this Gartner framework score more highly than those that don’t. Extra points were also given to programs that had international supply chain courses and opportunities.

To evaluate industry value, Gartner looked at numbers for average starting salaries for program graduates plus the number of internships placed. They also surveyed supply chain professionals on which programs they believe were tops in thindustry.

Added to those evaluations for the first time this year were scores diversity and inclusion, determined by looking at the gender and ethnicity breakouts of both the faculty and the student population of each program.

The third category for the rankings, program size, is straightforward, determined by the number of full- and part-time supply chain students as well as full-time faculty in each program.

Put the numbers for each of three categories, and voila, out comes a top 25.

(See More Below)




The list for this year is shown below, with symbols to indicate if a given undergraduate program move up or down since the last top 25 list in 2018:



After number 1 University of Arkansas, the rest of the top 10 were: (2) Rutgers; (3) Penn State; (4) University of Texas Austin; (5) South Carolina; (6) Tennessee; (7) Auburn; (8) Northeastern; (9) Michigan State; and (10) Georgia Tech.

The University of Arkansas program moved up a significant 14 spots since 2018. That rise, Gartner says, was due to its “comprehensive curriculum, explicit inclusion of global content, great popularity within the industry, robust program size, strong internship and/or co-op participation, and starting salary.”

Howard University, the University of Oklahoma, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and North Carolina A&T State University were new to the list in 2020.

Georgia Tech had the highest undergraduate starting salary at $77,000 – and Gartner notes engineering-aligned programs command premiums over degree programs in business schools. Top students in any program will also command higher salaries than average. The average starting salary for undergraduates in 2020 was $58,569, up from $56,973 in 2018. The average starting salary for the Top 10 undergraduate programs is $63,067, up from $61,654 in 2018.

Ninety-two percent of graduates were placed within three months of graduation, with 74% placed at or before graduation, which was about the same as 2018.

SCDigest will review the ranking of top supply chain graduate programs when it is released.

What are your thoughts on this Gartner list of top undergraduate programs? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.

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